The Caroline Holden Archive

Archive Collection

Scope and Content

Original artwork by Caroline Holden for titles by Sue Townsend, including 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole' and 'The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole'. The majority of illustrations were created for the Adrian Mole books published by Methuen, but the collection also includes some artwork for Sue Townsend’s plays, Adrian Mole merchandising and an advertising campaign for London Buses. The artwork for 'The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾' and 'The Growing Pains of Adrian Mole' is limited to preparatory work for cover designs. However, there are complete suites of illustrations for 'Adrian Mole from Major to Minor', 'Adrian Mole: The Wilderness Years' and 'The Illustrated Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾' (published in 1994).

Administrative / Biographical History

Born in Leicester in 1954, Caroline Holden Hotopf is an illustrator and children’s author. She studied Art and Design at Loughborough College of Art (1970-73) and moved to London in 1974 to work as a freelance illustrator and cartoonist. In 1982 she was approached by Methuen to illustrate the 'Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾'. Such was the success of her iconic illustrations that she went on to illustrate all the Adrian Mole books published by Methuen. She has illustrated works for a number of authors, including Michael Palin and Michael Rosen, and is the author and illustrator of 'Securi-skunk' and 'Danger, God Working Overhead', and the Lion and Albert series. Her work has also appeared in 'The Oldie', 'Private Eye', 'The Sunday Times' and 'New Scientist'.


Material has been sorted into the following series: book illustrations, play illustrations, Adrian Mole merchandise, advertising campaigns and unidentified pieces. The artwork within the series for book illustrations has been arranged by title in order of publication date.

Conditions Governing Access

The collection is open to bona fide researchers. The Special Collections are open Monday-Friday 9am-5pm. Access by appointment only. Contact to make an appointment.

Acquisition Information

The collection was deposited with the University of Leicester Special Collections in April 2009.

Archivist's Note

Description prepared by Alex Cave on 1 August 2012.

Conditions Governing Use

All of the material in the archive remains in copyright. Copyright of Caroline Holden’s artwork is held by Caroline Holden. Copyright of the residual material, such as letters written to her and works by Sue Townsend, remains with individual authors. Photocopies of material can be supplied for private research purposes only. However, it is the responsibility of users to obtain the copyright holder's permission for reproduction of copyright material for purposes other than research or private study. A copy of such written approval from the copyright holder must be received by the Librarian before reproductions can be made. It is also the researcher’s responsibility to obtain the relevant copyright holder’s permission to publish or cite papers from the archive. A copy of such written approval from the copyright holder must be received by the Librarian prior to publication. The Library will not be responsible for any failure on the part of authors and publishers to seek such permission to publish. Readers are required to sign a form accepting these conditions.

Custodial History

The collection was created by Caroline Holden during the course of her career as an illustrator for the Adrian Mole books. The material was held at her studio in London before being transferred to the University of Leicester in 2009.

Related Material

The Sue Townsend Collection, also held in the Special Collections of the University of Leicester.